The solo figure coming across the tarmac didn't appear to be functioning on only four hours of sleep. Short powerful strides of someone that knew where they were going, and a commanding look upon her face would make anyone believe the same. Monica was going to pretend she wasn't running an hour late. On top of that, having to walk across the entire tarmac when the pilot could have flown her closer (he dam well knew he could have). Instead he had insisted that he hadn't been cleared to fly into that restricted zone. Military personnel just went down another notch on her society ladder.
On her flight to the launch tarmac, she had kept herself awake looking over which crew members she would be traveling with to the Mars base and who was already there.Though she'd read who they were the night before, she preferred to be thorough. She determind if she was going to be spending the next few years with them she, should get to know them.
Monica entered the terminal from the south, while the shuttle was poised to the east another 600 meters away. The terminal was next to empty and Monica was not looking forward to having to run all the way there. Running wasn't very professional in her line of work, unless it was considered exercise. She started off in a brisk walk when something to the side of the walk-way caught her eye. It was an electric service car used by the spaceport employees in their daily jobs. Monica approached the topless car looking for some sort of key in the ignition. There was none to be found. This didn't stop her. She unlocked the car's seat and pulled back the cover to the batteries underneath. Disconnecting one of the positive posts and hooking it to the starter, there was a shower of sparks, then motor kicked on. Replacing the cable, Monica slammed the seat down locking it in place. She then jumped on the car and tore off down the terminal.
Astrologer Dekel Z. Relmore had been born in Germany were he finished high school. He continued most of his studying in American colleges, to later be taken under the wing of a renowned French Astrologer named Brewder Page. It was Mr. Page that involved him in the mission for which he was departing this fine sunny day. Mr. Page had been confronted by the world government about who would the best choice to send on this important mission. Page had mentioned Ky-vanya Orinda, his protege Dekel Relmore, and a hand full of others. Dekel got a call about thirty-six hours ago, requesting him for the mission and because of his credentials, he helped in choosing some of the crew members from NASA. Dekel was prejudice towards women and certain other cultures, though he never publicly announce it. Still Dekel's outward actions would sometimes portray his thoughts. This disposition did influence his nominations for personnel. Dekel was naturally bald, standing about 5' 11, and a prime age of forty. From what he had seen of the crew, he would be the oldest on the mission. This gave him a sense of being the father of the crew. He was certain the Captain, though he'd never heard of him, would appoint him second in charge.
He'd introduced himself to his fellow Astrologer Ky-vanya Orinda from Russia. Although she had very good credentials, it didn't really convince him that she was right for the mission. Still she'd make a good assistant.
Then there was the ship's Bio-Doctor, Sakae K. Tazu from Japan. She'd been though a lot to get were she was and didn't take crap from anyone. Dekel had not reviewed the back grounds of the crew members as Monica had, so he didn't know much about Sakae. He figured he wouldn't have any problems with her until she had to operate or whatever the Japanese women doctors did to earn them a fearful forth coming. Then Dekel had the distinct pleasure of meeting some of the top NASA Astronauts. Some of them he'd even hand picked for the mission. Then there was the Military personnel or as they liked to be called Space Marines. There were only twelve men and four women coming with them. The rest were coming from different locations in the Solar System. Dekel had heard that they'd been hand picked also, but whether that made a difference remained to be seen. He only hoped they would stay out of his way when things had to be done.
Then there was Monica Tanner. He'd worked with her in the past. They had butted heads during past assignments. He had to admit, at times he admired her. One thing was certain, she was holding up the take off of the shuttle Intrepid. Every one else had already boarded the shuttle and now the count down had entered the ten minute stage.
A screeching of tires brought Dekel out of his contemplating trance. He turned in the direction the sound had come from, to witness one of the electric space port cars come crashing down the terminal's marble stairs. The car then bulled it's way through some trash cans blocking it's way. Sliding to a final stop in front of him, the woman behind the wheel was huffing as if to announce that some one else beside herself had made her late.
"We already have a pilot for this flight Mama, but there is a race way just North of here," Dekel's jousting usually came with sarcasm. This time was different and it brought a smile to Monica's face.
"Please, no more Dekel, I already had it out with some Military Hover Pilot. Besides, I'm beginning to think that all that office work I've done would have been a lot more fun if I'd had one of these around", Monica gestured towards the electric car.
"Well, let me help you with your bags. We have a long trip together and you're the only one I've met that I care to talk with. So lets get aboard and you can tell me what you've been up to .....",
Monica cut him off in mid sentence. "Since our parting ways in the middle of the Focal Sun Project? When you stated to me that you'd rather work with a one eyed monkey?," Monica knew that Dekel would regret what he said some day. Today was that day.
"I'll make you a deal. I'll apologize all the way to Pluto if you promise me you don't drive me any where," the Astrologer hated to give in, so he thought a compromise would do. He had already admitted himself wrong.
"Well I suppose I'd better forgive you now," voiced Monica.
"Why's that?" Dekel was becoming suspicious.
Monica grabbed her bags and started walking for the gangway. "Do you really think we're going to get to Pluto with out you insulting me?" `Besides you're a man,' she mischievous thought.
Dekel hadn't made very many friends in his life, but Monica might just be the first, perhaps.
Walking in and being directed to her seat by a NASA personnel, Monica made herself at home, hoping they'd updated the comfort of the chairs. After buckling herself in she took notice to the passenger sitting next to her. Gazing at her neighbor for the trip to Mars, Monica could see that the woman next to her was Japanese. Her age looked to be about in the lower thirties. Her black hair was cut short, her complexion was smooth and her eyes were locked on to what appeared to be a book on her lap top. Monica knew this had to be Sakae K. Tazu. The description she'd read the night before hardly did her justice. Monica wasn't sure if she should interrupt the Doctor's reading, but then again, it would be rude of her to sit next to her with out introducing herself.
"Hi, my name is Monica Tanner of NASA," she greeted. This seem to pull Sakae out of her lap top.
"I sorry, I was at one of those parts in a book were you don't want to put it down," replied the Doctor.
"What is it that your reading there," questioned Monica, finding Sakae's demeanor pleasant.
"Well it started as a mother-daughter story when the mother ends up disappearing and then the daughter falls in love with this man. Then her mother returns informing the lovers that their brother and sister. Why the mother left is yet to be revealed." Sakae almost enjoyed telling the story more than reading it.
"What happens with the lovers?" Monica finding herself forgetting the headache that lay ahead.
"Well, they go to have their DNA tested and that's when some men in unmarked cars break in stealing the DNA test results," Sakae could of gone on for most of the trip, but something from the night before was eating at Monica's mind.
"Sakae," questioned Monica.
Stopping in mid sentence Sakae gave the NASA expert her attention.
"Have you ever heard of a Captain Jorbane?" Monica's curiosity was still eating her alive, despite Sakae's twisting story.
"No, but then I don't know too many officers," shrugging her shoulders to show she was sorry she couldn't help more. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, I do know many officers and yet I've never heard of this guy."
Turning to her lap top Sakae began punching in numbers, "Well if he's ever had a medical record, I can tell you who he is and where he came from."
"Actually Sakae, I've already tried the government and military records. He doesn't seem to exist at all."
"Well maybe we should ask Dekel or Ky-vanya. I'm sure someone on this mission has worked with him at some point in time." Sakae had forgotten about the mystery she was reading and began to wonder about the one at hand. Though she was sure there was a simple explanation, even when her search of the medical records came up empty.